PREVIEW: Phantoms at Checkers. Game #28

Saturday, December 22, 6:00 p.m.
Bojangles’ Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
Lehigh Valley (12-11-4) vs. Charlotte (13-10-3)

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms aim to keep their perfect record against the Charlotte Checkers as the divisional rivals rematch in the final game before the Holiday Break. The Phantoms are 3-0-0 against Charlotte following Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime victory.
Following tonight’s game, many of the players will head in different directions for the holidays while there are no practices or games in the AHL from December 23-25. The team reports back to Allentown for practice on December 26 preceding a home game on December 27 against the Utica Comets.

Tanner Laczynski (8th) roofed it from beneath the right dot after Spencer Knight bit and went down. Lehigh Valley prevailed in overtime 3-2 at the Charlotte Checkers to improve to 3-0-0 against the divisional rivals. Samu Tuomaala (8th) and Laczynski each had a goal and an assist while J.R. Avon (7th) also scored a key goal on the power play at the end of the second period to tie the game at 2-2.

Dec 19 – Olle Lycksell (F) – Returned to Phantoms from Philadelphia
Dec 19 – Parker Gahagen (G) – Recalled to Phantoms from Reading Royals
Dec 19 – Rhett Gardner (F) – Recalled to Philadelphia
Dec 19 – Cal Petersen (G) – Recalled to Philadelphia
Dec 17 – Mason Millman (D) – Recalled to Phantoms from Reading Royals
Dec 15 – Louie Belpedio (D) – Return to Phantoms from Philadelphia

Lehigh Valley’s power play continues to thrive and is second in the AHL at 24.8%.  The Phantoms entered the week at first in the AHL but the Chicago Wolves and Texas Stars both had big games to jump ahead.
The Phantoms have scored a power-play goal in 14 of the last 15 games going 18-for-54 (33.3%) since November 12. Cooper Marody is one behind the AHL lead for most power-play points (3-10-13) and Samu Tuomaala (6-7-13) lead the team in power-play points while Olle Lycksell (6-6-12) is also in double digits. Marody and Lycksell have both spent time at first in the AHL for most points on the power play.
Tanner Laczynski (3-6-9), Emil Andrae (2-6-8),  J.R. Avon (2-1-3) and Wade Allison (2-1-3) also have multiple power-play goals.

Philadelphia’s Round 2 selection in the 2021 NHL Draft is having a massive season in his first full pro campaign in North America. 20-year-old Samu Tuomaala appears to be gaining more and more confidence each game and has moved into the team lead in scoring with 25 points.  Tuomaala is currently on a five-game point streak (3-4-7) and has three goals in the last four games including two strikes on the power play.
Overall, Tuomaala has scored 8-17-25 to rate third among AHL rookies in points and assists. His five power-play goals is tied for first among AHL rookies.


  • Tanner Laczynski scored his second career overtime goal and his first since March 21, 2021 when he scored his first career goal to the game in the third period before his OT winner against WBS.
  • The Phantoms are 3-4 in overtime games and have won their last two extra-period contests, both against Charlotte. Ronnie Attard scored the winner on December 13 at PPL Center and Tanner Laczynski had the next OT goal eight days later in North Carolina.
  • Marody scored 1-5-6 in three games last week but had his four-game point streak ended on Thursday at Charlotte
  • The Phantoms are:
    7-3-3 when scoring first
    11-2-2 when scoring three or more goals
    9-1-0 when leading after two periods
    10-2-2 when allowing three goals or fewer

The AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers is led by hard-shooting defenseman Lucas Carlsson (8-12-20) who scored the double-overtime goal in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Playoffs against the Phantoms last year. Carlsson was also second-team All-AHL scoring 20-34-54 in 61 games finishing tied for first among blueliners in goals and second in points.
Rookie first-rounder Mackie Samoskevich (6-11-17) had been heating up recently including a two-goal game at Hershey on December 10 and a goal at Lehigh Valley on December 13. He scored a gigantic goal at PPL Center with his overtime winner for the University of Michigan against Penn State in the NCAA Regional Final in Allentown last March.
Former Phantom Gerry Mayhew (4-9-13) is in his second season with the Checkers after splitting time between the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2021-22 but he was out of the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Phantoms.

Phantoms Scoring Leaders
Samu Tuomaala 8-17-25
Cooper Marody 6-17-23
Olle Lycksell 12-8-20
Tanner Laczynski 7-13-20
Ronnie Attard 5-9-14

Checkers Scoring Leaders
Lucas Carlsson 8-12-20
Mackie Samoskevich 6-11-17
Patrick Khodorenko 6-9-15
Gerry Mayhew 4-9-13
Justin Sourdif 5-7-12

Lehigh Valley PP, 24.8% (2nd)
Lehigh Valley PK 81.0% (18th)
Charlotte PP 13.9% (29th)
Charlotte PK 86.7% (3rd)

LV vs. CLT: 3/10, 30.0%
CLT vs. LV: 0/13, 0%

Dec 9: Lehigh Valley 4 – Charlotte 1
Dec 13: Lehigh Valley 3 – Charlotte 2 (OT)
Dec 21: Lehigh Valley 3 – Charlotte 2 (OT)
Dec 22: Lehigh Valley at Charlotte
Dec 31: Charlotte at Lehigh Valley
Feb 24: Lehigh Valley at Charlotte
Feb 25: Lehigh Valley at Charlotte
Apr 21: Charlotte at Lehigh Valley

LV – Samu Tuomaala 2-2-4
Cooper Marody 0-4-4
Emil Andrae 1-2-3
Felix Sandstrom 2-0-0, 1.95, .917
CLT – Mackie Samoskevich 1-0-1
Spencer Knight 0-0-2, 2.92, .903

The Phantoms return to PPL Center for a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday, December 27 against the Utica Comets with pregame $2 beers.
Saturday, December 30 against the rival Hershey Bears features Phantoms Knit Caps and is a Whiteout Night. Fans are encouraged to wear white to the game while the team wears its bold all-white look for the first time this season.
Sunday, December 31 against the Charlotte Checkers includes the World’s Largest Puck Drop after the game outside the arena as part of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Friday, December 22 (6:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Charlotte Checkers

Wednesday, December 27 (7:05) – Utica Comets at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Pregame $2 Beers
Saturday, December 30 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Phantoms Knit Caps
Sunday, December 31 (7:05) – Charlotte Checkers at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – World’s Largest Puck Drop!